Newswire : African critics see dark side to China’s ‘charitable’ development loans

China’s President Xi Jinping with Uganda’s President Paul. Kagame

2Sept. 10, 2018 (GIN) – There are two sides to every coin and two widely opposing views on China’s offer of generous loans and grants to African countries announced at the recent Forum on China-Africa Cooperation forum in Beijing. At the confab, with representatives from 53 of 54 African countries, sky-high numbers were bandied about. Chinese President Xi Jinping announced $60 billion in funds for eight initiatives over the next three years, in areas ranging from industrial promotion, infrastructure construction and scholarships for young Africans. Such a financial package has many high-profile defenders on the continent, including the head of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina. “A lot of people get nervous about China but I am not. I think China is Africa’s friend,” he told the BBC. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa dismissed the view of a “new colonialism taking hold in Africa while Rwandan President Paul Kagame called talk of “debt traps” as attempts to discourage African-Chinese interactions. But several African economists, media pundits and civil society see red flags ahead. “The time has come for African leaders to critically interrogate their relationship with China,” an editorial in Kenya’s Daily Nation said Monday. “What are the benefits in this relationship? Is China unfairly exploiting Africa like the others before it?” “This debt acquired from China comes with huge business opportunities for Chinese companies, particularly construction companies that have turned the whole of Africa into a construction site for rails, roads, electricity dams, stadia, commercial buildings and so on,” said Kampala-based economist Ramathan Ggoobi, speaking to the BBC. In Uganda, a 21 year mining concession to the Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Company produced only 92 job slots so far and the threat of displacement of 12,000 residents from 14 villages. This week in Zambia, the government was forced to refute published reports of the possible Chinese takeover of Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and the power utility ZESCO for unpaid debts. It is increasingly common in countries like Angola, Mozambique or Ghana, which benefit from Chinese loans for infrastructure, to see Chinese trucks and workers who would otherwise be unemployed in China now working in Africa on Chinese projects. “If African countries are not careful, the debt they have to China is going to be the equivalent or even more than the debt that they have to industrialized countries and to the World Bank,” said William Gumede, University of the Witwatersrand professor and chair of the Democracy Works Foundation in South Africa. The next Summit will be organized by Senegal in 2021.

Newswire : In South Africa, pain and shock at passing of Winnie Madikizela Mandela

death-winniemandela2
  Winnie Mandela

(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – Tributes to anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela Mandela filled the South African radio air waves this week as news of her untimely passing reached the far corners of the nation and the continent.
Heart-rending classics from the American songbook – from The Song for Mama by Boyz to Men to Donny Hathaway’s A Song for You – expressed the somber mood in the nation while social media filled with remembrances by those whose lives she touched – sometimes with a single word, sometimes with a long eulogy.
“The big tree has fallen the #MotherOfTheNation, a nation builder ulale kahle mama you have fought a good fight,you’ll remain in our hearts,” wrote AndileKaMajola on Twitter. “How I wish to have met you,” wrote Sego Bae we EFF from South Africa’s city of Randburg. “You are a woman of steel and no one will ever take away that from you mama Winnie Nonzamo Mandela. May your lovely soul rest in peace.”
The former wife of Robbin Island prisoner later president Nelson Mandela, Winnie had been in and out of Netcare Milpark Hospital battling a kidney infection, according to her spokesman, Victor Dlamini. A message from the family read: “Altho we are gutted by her passing, we are grateful for the gift of her life.”
Recently, she was an observer during the ANC’s struggle over corruption allegations that enveloped past president Jacob Zuma. She expressed confidence in the new leadership of the ANC under Cyril Ramaphosa. “We’re going to surprise the country. I’ve told them they must watch this space. I’m back,” she declared.
Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela was one of nine children – six of them daughters – of two teachers and devout Methodists, Columbus Madikizela and his wife, Gertrude.
When Madikizela-Mandela moved to Johannesburg, she studied social work. There she met lawyer and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in 1957 and they married a year later and had two children.
The marriage was short-lived as he was arrested in 1963 and sentenced to life imprisonment for treason. Mandela was eventually released in 1990.
Winnie was a strong single parent who raised two children while her “larger than life” husband was in prison. This was a time that the ANC and the country overall was “gendered”, spurring her struggle for women’s rights.
In May 1969, Winnie was jailed supposedly for political agitation, but more likely for simply being the wife of Nelson Mandela. Held for 17 months, she spent most of the time in solitary confinement, and was interrogated and kept awake for up to five days at a time.
The picture of her hand-in-hand with Mandela as he walked free from prison after 27 years became one of the most recognizable symbols of the anti-apartheid struggle.
The Mandela family says it will release details of the memorial and funeral services once
these have been finalized. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an official
memorial on April 14 in Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
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